COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has agreed to pay an Ohio man $5,000 after the man alleged he was severely injured during a white supremacist and neo-Nazi rally two years ago in Virginia attended by Duke, according to attorneys and court documents.
Bill Burke, of Athens, Ohio, says he was struck by a car driven by James Alex Fields Jr. — in a crash that killed counterprotester Heather Heyer — during the August 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Burke’s physical injuries still require medical treatment and may be permanent, and he has experienced “severe psychological and emotional suffering,” according to Burke’s May 2019 federal lawsuit.
The lawsuit names multiple defendants, including Fields and Duke. Burke on Tuesday accepted an “offer of judgment” from Duke for $5,000, according to court records and Duke’s attorney.
The judgment “is a step in the right direction for those who refuse to be silenced or intimidated by white supremacy,” said Michael Fradin, representing Burke.
Kyle Bristow, a lawyer representing Duke, noted that Duke “categorically and vigorously denied” the allegations in the lawsuit.
“I merely attended a rally to defend the heritage and rights of European-Americans,” Duke said in a statement provided by Bristow. “I have always been dedicated to non-violence and human rights, and I condemn violence.”
The “Unite the Right” rally on Aug. 12, 2017, drew hundreds of white nationalists to Charlottesville to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
In December 2018, Fields was convicted of first-degree murder in the killing of Heyer and multiple charges for injuries caused to others in the car attack. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 419 years. He is appealing his convictions.
Fields, of Maumee, Ohio, already is serving life sentences after accepting a plea agreement in a separate federal hate crimes case.